NSM Faculty/Staff Newsletter

From the Office of the Dean

University Support for Faculty Work-Life Balance

The University of Houston offers a wide range of resources, programs, and policies to support faculty success and work-life balance. This information may be of use to you as a faculty member and also may aid in faculty recruiting as these programs demonstrate the commitment of the University to providing a supportive environment beyond that described in the offer letter. The sections and information below were obtained from the Current Faculty section of the Provost’s website and are clickable via the Work-Life Balance site and/or the Human Resources benefits site.

While you are very aware that UH offers a range of standard employment benefits, such as, health, dental, optical, life/ADD, retirement, and others, you are likely less aware of the many work-life balance benefits. These include the fairly popular tenure-clock extension due to childbirth/adoption and on-campus childcare/education. However, there are many lesser known benefits/policies. The majority of this article contains an annotated list of those programs. The reader is referred to their complete descriptions linked via the Provost’s website or under Human Resources.

One of the newest benefits is a program that provides emergency back-up care for children or elders under your care. This benefit is intended to address cases where you must teach, attend a meeting, or attend a conference and your normal child/elder care arrangement is not available. The following section describes that program.

Back-up Child and Elder Care

UH has signed a contract with Bright Horizons to provide back-up child and elder care to employees. Note that this is back-up ‘emergency’ care - not primary care. This benefit can be used to provide dependent care, for a small co-pay, when you must participate in an important work function but have an unmet child or elder care arrangement. This can even be used for conference/meeting travel where care can be provided in the remote city.

If you can take your child to a Bright Horizons Center, the cost is $15/child/day or $25/family/day. In-home child or elder care is $6/hour for a maximum of three care recipients with a four-hour minimum commitment. This benefit can be used, at this subsidized rate, up to a maximum of 10 days per year per employee. The care is available 24 hours/day, 365 days/year. If you may need this kind of benefit, you are strongly encouraged to pre-register and learn more about the program.

Other Benefits Programs/Policies

Highly abbreviated descriptions are provided for many of the benefits programs/policies listed below. Please read the associated full descriptions very carefully before deciding to utilize them. Feel free to contact your Department Business Administrator, Department Chair, and/or Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs if you want to discuss any of these further.

Family and Childcare

  • Dual Career Program - aid in the search for partner employment for qualified couples during the recruitment stage.
  • Lactation Rooms - differently outfitted locations are provided across the UH campus where lactation needs can be addressed. A process is in place to provide access to the secured locations so be sure to sign up and identify the nearby locations and amenities.
  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) - federally mandated protected leave for approved medical situations. Be sure to coordinate through your medical professional, departmental administrators, and human resources.
  • Parental Leave - UH policy that enacts state law that relates to birth, adoption, and certain foster care situations that are not covered by the federal FMLA.
  • Extension of Probationary Period for Childbirth or Adoption - tenure-track faculty can request up to two extensions in their tenure clock for childbirth and/or adoption by making a request within six months of the birth/adoption so long as it is before March 1 of the year just prior to the start of mandatory promotion/tenure review.
  • Childbirth and Adoption Workload Redistribution Program - tenured and tenure-track faculty can request a one-semester release from classroom teaching and other time-rigid duties and agree to a redistributed workload that can, if desired, be accomplished from off-campus.
  • Sick Leave - compensated or uncompensated leave due to documented sickness.
  • Sick Leave Pool - collection of donated, unused sick leave hours from other employees that can be used (subject to conditions and limits) if you run out of your own accumulated sick leave time.
  • Collaborative for Children - resource for finding and sharing information about child care in your community/city.
  • Back-up Child and Elder Care - described in detail above
  • UH Children’s Learning Center - on-campus early childhood learning center. Apply early!
  • UH Summer Camps - links to UH camps
  • Houston Area Summer Camps - links to area camps

Health and Wellness

  • A.D. Bruce Religion Center - provides event space in addition to a wide range of religious and non-religious activities and support.
  • Counseling and Psychological Services - faculty referrals, training, self-help resources, etc.
  • Dining Services - health and nutrition links
  • Employee Assistance Program - provides a surprising range of advice and assistance, much of it at no cost for limited support. Mental health (family planning, alcohol/drug problems, grief, anger management, elder care concerns, coping, etc.), financial (tax/IRS questions, retirement planning, credit advice, tuition planning, personal budgeting, debt consolidation, etc.), and legal (free simple will, identify theft, bankruptcy/credit, divorce, estate planning, consumer rights, etc.).
  • University Eye Institute - periodically offers faculty exam/treatment incentives (J. Davis Armistead building)

Employee Perks

  • Employee Discount Program - employee discount program through BenePlace.
  • Passport for Coogs - U.S. passport application services (not renewals - they must be mailed)

Human Resources (Health, Optical, Dental, Flex Spending, Life/ADD, Retirement, Bright Horizons, etc.)